image by Simon Spaans (Image rights)
The Minolta Autowide is a 35mm viewfinder camera with coupled selenium meter made by Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō in Japan. The Autowide has a place in history as the second 35mm camera introduced with integral coupled metering, following the Mamiya Elca by a matter of weeks in February 1957.
Concentric rotating aperture and shutter speed knob-and-wheel on the back of the Autowide are internally geared to the lens aperture and shutter. The meter readout is mechanically coupled to these knobs and also adjustable through ASA/DIN slots on the meter dial. The correct exposure combination is found when the meter dial pointer matches the needle driven by the meter cell. Aperture and shutter speed readings are read through a magnifying port on top of the camera.
- Type: viewfinder camera.
- Manufacturer: Minolta
- Year of launch: sales starting in 1958.
- Lens: Minolta Rokkor 35mm/f2.8 with 6 elements in 4 groups. Zone focusing with 'P' setting for close up Portrait, 'G' for midrange Group, and 'S' for Scenery to infinity.
- Shutter: Optiper Citizen MVL , B, 1 to 1/500 sec with M and X flash sync. Thumb wheel self-timer.
- Finder: Optical brightline viewfinder (no room for rangefinder optics with all those metering mechanisms under the top cover!)
- Metering: coupled selenium meter supports manual aperture/speed choice for ASA 10-1600 range. An accessory windowed diffuser for the metercell allowed for bright light reading.
- Film advance: Advance lever on the right side of the camera bottom with film transport indicator centered inset in fold-out rewind lever on bottom. Pushing in rewind button at bottom also releases rewind lever. Exposure counter in the camera top.
The first generation Autowide included Light Value (LV) referencing around the meter dial.